is thought of as “Western” ranching.nThe South of the late antebellumnperiod was prosperous and stable. ThenSouthern population, includingnblacks, except in the less developednareas, lived snugly in rough abundance,ncontent with the Jeffersoniannideal of independence and relativelynimmune from the tremendous religiousnand economic stresses of modernizationnbeing endured by Northernnsociety. During the panic of 1857,nwhen Northern banks and mercantilenhouses experienced a landslide ofnbankruptcy and the Bank of Englandnsaved itself by extraordinary measures,nSoutherners were hardly touched. Itnwas at this juncture that an over-cockynSouthern spokesman told the worldnthat “Cotton is King!”nAs always, hubris extracted its price.nThe failed war of Southern independencenleft the antebellum infrastructurenin ruins. There was immensendestruction, confiscation, and theft ofnproperty, without any postwar MarshallnPlan. The slaves were freed, itselfna vast liquidation of capital which atnthe same time drastically lowered thenvalue of land in the most productivenparts of the South. The freedmen werenof interest to the North chiefly asnpolitical pawns. They had few economicnalternatives except to remain onnthe land as a dependent labor force.nSomehow, a considerable number ofnblack people acquired land andnachieved some independence. Hownthis happened is not understood, because,nwhile liberal historians havendevoted billions of words to the blacknexperience, they have shown littie interestnin how this truly constructivenfeat was accomplished.nThe planter had few economic alternativesneither. His capital, if he wasnlucky, consisted of the land and ancache of Confederate bonds. He hadnto borrow to supply and feed his labornforce through the year; his survivalndepended on a network of credit thatnled ultimately to outside powers. Thencrop was already mortgaged before itnwas planted. There was no cash fornwages; and anyway, too many Southerners,nwhite and black, were endowednwith the Jeffersonian ideal of independencento submit to wage labor. Ansystem of sharecropping and tenantryngrew up, leaving thousands of farmersnat the mercy of distant forces of supplynand demand over which they had noncontrol. Except for flush periods, likenWorld War I, the price often did notnmeet costs, and vast numbers sank intonan inescapable pit of debt. A majoritynof the black population remained in ancondition that cannot be called peonagenbecause it was too vagrant. Startlingly,nlarge numbers of formerly independentnwhite families were reducednto similar status. In fact, by the end ofnthe 19th century, the number of whitencroppers and tenants exceeded thennumber of black (though a highernpercentage of the black population wasnin this condition). No Southerner evernsuffered from the strange delusive assumption,nencountered repeatedly innconversation with upper-middle-classnNorthern liberals, that most poor peoplenare black and that poverty is chieflynthe result of racism.nAlthough this brief sketch oversimplifiesnthe history of Southern agriculture,nit does provide the necessaryncontext for FDR’s famous statementnthat the South was the nation’s NumbernOne Economic Problem. Thenprofitability of cattie and later oil innTexas and Oklahoma modified the picture,nas did industrialization in somenareas and the partial survival of thenindependent small farm class. But thenbleak pronouncement remainednbroadly true. Meanwhile, Southernersncontinued to hold on to a militantnJefifersonianism, both as political programnand folkway, for which the economicnbase had disappeared, while thenNorth was swept along by that combinationnof open-ended material progressivismnand social democracynwhich for most people constitutes thenAmerican way. Pete Daniel, in Breakingnthe Land, recounts that the Southernnway of life began to change in thenI880’s, with the arrival of agriculturalncolleges and extension agents, quintessentialnprogressive American institutions,nwhich generated a new sense ofntechnical prowess and profit motivenand thus began the slow transformationnof Southern agriculture to itsnmodern scientific and capitalist form.nDaniel’s work provides a sound andnwelcome amendment, but does notnalter the larger story, for the realnchange came in the 1930’s with mechanizationnand farm subsidies. Thisncorrective commentary, by way ofnbackground, brings us to more recentnnnfnwnhistory and to the books in hand.nAs Rare as Rain, the less importantnof these works, is concerned with thenquestion of rural relief as it presentednitself during the Depression year 1930,nwhen the rainfall fell to as low asnone-third of normal in parts of thenSouth and pushed many people overnthe line between normal hard timesnand disaster. Thus we have a historicalncase study of pre-New Deal welfare—nof the attempts to relieve localizednsuffering without a governmental apparatusnof permanent relief The authornsees the case as another proof ofnthe failures of Hooverism. Woodrulfnmay well be right, for all I know, that anWork and FamilynOn a Collision Course in Americanin Persuasion at WorknAllan Carlson explores the problematicnrelationship of the family to the workplacenand looks at socialist and feminist strategiesnfor supplanting both the traditional familynand capitalism through the use of “familynpolicy.”nOrder today and receive a FREE copy ofn”TREND REPORT-an update on recentnsocial currents that may affect your future.nSend to: Persuasion at Work / 934 NorthnMain Street / Rockford, IL 61103nD Please rush me “Work and Family,” plusnmy FREE copy of Trend Report.nD Enclosed is $2 (includes postage andnhandling).nNamenAddressnCity .State, _Zip_nPW/786nJULY 1986/23n